Theater Reviews

Review: “Doubt: A Parable”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre at Glencoe Union Church, 263 Park Ave. When: through July 19 Tickets: $35-$75 Phone: 773-975-8150 What’s a moral person to do when she becomes absolutely convinced that a great evil is being perpetrated even though she has no concrete proof and the powers that be make it impossible to rectify the(…)

Review: “The Birds”

Review: “The Birds”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Griffin Theatre Company at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. When: through July 19 Tickets: $35 Phone: 773-975-8150 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Strangers stuck in claustrophobic surroundings with little chance of escape: It is a perfect scenario for a psychological thriller. Add the imminent apocalypse courtesy of terrifying creatures right outside,(…)

Review: “Goldfish”

Review: “Goldfish”

RECOMMENDED Where: Route 66 Theatre Company at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through July 12 Tickets: $39-$43 Phone: 773-404-7336 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I went to see Route 66 Theatre Company’s local premiere of John Kolvenbach’s “Goldfish” mostly because two of the top actors working in Chicago, Francis Guinan and(…)

Review: “The Who & the What”

RECOMMENDED Where: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through July 12 Tickets: $15-$60 Phone: 773-871-3000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Generational and cultural differences between a father and his two daughters drive “The Who & the What” by Ayad Akhtar, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning “Disgraced” got its start at American Theatre Company, went on(…)

Review: “On Your Feet”

RECOMMENDED Where: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. When: through July 5 Tickets: $33-$100 Phone: 800-773-2000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you’re a fan of Gloria and Emilio Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, the pre-Broadway world premiere of “On Your Feet” is likely to … well, bring you to your feet, as it(…)

Review: “stop. reset.”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through June 21 Tickets: $10-$40 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Think of Regina Taylor’s “stop. reset.” as a realistic play, and you’re bound to be confused. Regard it instead as a cross between an “Afrofuturist” science-fiction fantasy and a meditation on(…)

Review: “The Secret Garden”

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through June 21 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic “The Secret Garden” has never been one of my favorite shows. Marsha Norman (book and lyrics) and Lucy Simon’s (music) 1991 musical based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 children’s novel has always struck me(…)

Review: “The Projects”

Review: “The Projects”

RECOMMENDED Where: American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St. When: through June 21 Tickets: $43-$48 Phone: 773-409-4125 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I’ve been trying to appreciate the world premiere of “The Project(s)” at American Theater Company for what it is rather than getting hung up on what it purports to be. According to artistic(…)

Review: “The Little Foxes”

Review: “The Little Foxes”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through June 7 Tickets: $25-$81 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Rapaciousness rules in “The Little Foxes,” Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play about the greedy Hubbard family, perhaps best known from the 1941 film starring Bette Davis as Regina Giddens. In Goodman Theatre’s delectably entertaining production(…)

Review: “The Herd”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through June14 Tickets: $20-$86 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In the hands of a lesser company than Steppenwolf Theatre, the U.S. premiere of actor-playwright Rory Kinnear’s first play, “The Herd,” might come across as just another dysfunctional family drama. But director Frank(…)

Review: “Sense and Sensibility”

RECOMMENDED Where: Chicago SHakespeare Theater, Navy Pier When: through June 14 Tickets: $48-$88 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic The world premiere of the musical “Sense and Sensibility” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is like a sumptuous feast that somehow leaves you unsatisfied. Based on the 1811 novel by the beloved Jane Austen, the show(…)

Review: “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara”

Review: “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara”

RECOMMENDED Where: Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through May 17 Tickets: $65 Phone: 312-988-9000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic From the title “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara,” you might expect a recreation of a show Louis Prima and Keely Smith performed at the titular Las Vegas hotel during their 1950s(…)

Review: “First Date”

SLIGHTLY RECOMMENDED Where: Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through May 17 Tickets: $15-$59 Phone: 312-988-9000 Judging by the enthusiasm of the opening-night crowd, there’s undoubtedly a local audience for “First Date,” the 90-minute musical with a book by Austin Winsberg (TV’s “Gossip Girl”) and music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael(…)

Review: “Marie Antoinette”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through May 10 Tickets: $20-$86 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic What are we to make of “Marie Antoinette”? That’s the question I kept asking myself as I watched the Chicago premiere of David Adjmi’s play about France’s doomed last queen at(…)

Review: “Jesus Christ Superstar”

Review: “Jesus Christ Superstar”

RECOMMENDED Where: Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre at No Exit Café, 6970 N. Glenwood Ave. When: through May 17 Tickets: $39-$43 Phone: 800-595-4849 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” is far from the first musical you’d think of scaling down for a cabaret theater, but Theo Ubique generally(…)

Review: “Travesties”

RECOMMENDED Where: Remy Bumppo at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through May 3 Tickets: $42.50-$52.50 Phone: 773-404-7336 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic No one has a talent for teasing a whole world of ideas out of a few historical tidbits like Tom Stoppard. In the brilliant 1974 “Travesties,” he uses the(…)

Review: “Carousel”

Review: “Carousel”

RECOMMENDED Where: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive When: through May 3 Tickets: $29-$199 Phone: 312-827-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you’re familiar with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” the first thing you may notice about Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of the 1945 Broadway musical is that the setting(…)

Review: “The Apple Family Plays: That Hopey Changey Thing and Sorry”

RECOMMENDED Where: TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave. When: through April 19 Tickets: $39-$52 Phone: 773-281-8463 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When playwright Richard Nelson began “The Apple Family Plays,” he thought they might end up being “disposable” because they were so tied to a specific time and place that they were likely to(…)

Review: “The Good Book”

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through April 19 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When I interviewed playwrights Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson about “The Good Book,” they explained that they weren’t interested in Bible stories or theology but rather in how the Bible came to be from(…)

Review: “Balm in Gilead”

Review: “Balm in Gilead”

RECOMMENDED Where: Griffin Theatre Company at The Den Theatre, 1329-1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. When: through April 19 Tickets: $35 Phone: 866-811-4111 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Anyone who’s been around Chicago theater long enough remembers Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s 1980 production of “Balm in Gilead” as one of the greatest shows ever. Director John Malkovich turned Landford Wilson’s(…)